2 feb. 2004

Imagine the students at a particular university on the West Coast start up a widget club. They develop their own tradition of making widgets, and have internalized certain standards. They all pretty much agree, in other words, on what makes a good widget and who the best widget makers are.

A student from another university on the East Coast transfers to West Coast University in her junior year and notices that they have a widget club. She joins, but finds herself at odds with the other members of the club, since on the East Coast there is a quite different idea of what makes a good widget. She starts her own rival club, "Eastern Style Widgeting for the continentally displaced."

Members of the two clubs pretty much ignored each other. There was always that one guy who, even though he practiced the West Coast style, insisted on joining the East Coast club (or vice-versa). The idea was that you should be able to practice whatever form of widgeting you wanted, in whichever of the two clubs you chose. The other perspective was expressed by the proverb: "If you want to practice East Coast Widgeting, move to the East Coast."

Some students tried to get a third club going, for those who wanted to fuse the two styles. The problem was that there were always tensions between those who were "really" more Eastern or Western.